Homeless Man Speaks


People start online journals for a variety of reasons.

Some connect with their friends and family. Others want a pulpit to speak from on specific topics. For some, blogging is simply a good way to practice writing.

Still other journals were started with a greater purpose. They contain poignant and unique messages that bolster a reader’s understanding of an issue or the world.

One such journal is Homeless Man Speaks; a blog that features citizen "Philip’s" regular exchanges with a homeless man named "Tony" in Toronto, Canada:

...I’ve known Tony for about 5 years. I estimate that he’s about 55 yrs old. Tony spends most days coaxing a dime or a quarter or a dollar or a fiver from folks walking by, familiar and not.

From what I can tell, Tony finances his life one meal at a time, plus the cost of a bed for the evening when he can collect enough money. Most mornings, I find him perched on a stack of milk crates, near my favourite coffee shop.

Tony’s cap acts as a nest for loose change, and his small cardboard signs attempt to catch your eye and your heart. I see him most days at around 8am when he’s generally “working on” breakfast...
Philip has detailed Tony’s experience (including jail, illnesses, and hospital visits) for about four years now.

One post of Tony and Philip that caught my eye dovetails well with a story that Cst. Sandra Glendinning (Vancouver Police Department) told about a homeless man who helped her during a fight with an arrestee. Tony's post is entitled "Just Doing Their Job":

TONY
“You hear about the old guy who got jumped down Ronces earlier?”

PHILIP
“What happened?”

TONY
“I don’t know but next thing you know, there’s six cop cars right there. You can say what you want about our cops but they sure can do their job when they need to.”
Very few of us citizens will experience life as a police officer or as a homeless person, but the wealth of information available through blogs like these will certainly give us a better understanding of the world around us.

5 comments:

Natalie said...

This post definitely leads to reflections on looking past the sign when encountering a homeless person. I always have such a moral struggle when I see a destitute individual holding a cardboard sign looking for help. I've never really acted on it, which is sometimes regretful and other times a safe choice.

Good post!

Sandra G. said...

Great post, SD.

I've gone over and read 'Homeless Man Speaks' and it really tugged at my emotions.

Actually, I'm not really sure what to say.

Debbie said...

This is a really touching post. There are so many things we take for granted every single day - what a remarkable opportunity bloggers have to share real pieces of real people's lives!

Thanks for sharing it!

Ann T. said...

Dear SlamDunk,
Thanks for finding this great site! All the understated (and therefore genuine) compassion her and there.

Sincerely,
Ann T.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks all for the feedback.

I should also mention that the Tony's sister lives in another city and uses the blog to see how he is doing--otherwise she would have little idea of how he survives on the street.